Lanier Law Group is proud to represent multiple survivors of childhood sexual abuse in a historic lawsuit against the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). This high-profile case has garnered the attention of respected media outlets. The New York Times, for example, recently published its groundbreaking coverage of the case.
Journalist Matt Stevens for the Times dissected the whopping 236-page complaint we, along with co-counsel Gloria Allred, filed on behalf of 56 former UNCSA students. The allegations of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (including rape) span over 40 years, from the late 1960s to the late 2000s.
As the Times reported, allegations include “complaints of being groped, of being fondled through their leotards and of alcohol-fueled dance parties where students as young as 14 were told to completely disrobe and perform ballet moves.” It also delved into allegations regarding how some modern dance classes had mandatory “bikini” days; how some drama students were tasked with seducing their professors as they “were instructed to kiss each other lustfully for extended periods of time”; and how dance teachers told students they would need to have sex to forward their dance careers.
The lawsuit’s many egregious accounts of rape were also covered by the Times.
“Some of the teachers characterized in the lawsuit as the worst offenders are now dead,” the Times reported. “Others have yet to respond in court papers; still others declined or did not respond to requests for comment.”
This only goes to show the uphill battle Lanier Law Group’s clients have had in seeking justice for themselves. The abuse was not only swept under the rug when it happened; it was allowed to continue on for years. That’s why our firm has named UNCSA itself as a lead defendant in the lawsuit.
Our legal team supports victims in their allegations that UNCSA administrators failed to protect them when they were students. The fact is, nothing was done to address the exploitative culture at UNCSA at the time.
As the Times quoted the lawsuit, we allege UNCSA admin “clearly knew or should have known of the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor and other students that was occurring … [they] unconscionably allowed this egregious and outrageous conduct to continue.”
“We were children, and we were brave enough to come forward and not one single adult that represented the institution was as brave as we were,” said Melissa Cummings, a former UNCSA student who has remained outspoken about her traumatic experience.
Cummings has been fighting to get herself justice since 1997, when she was a senior at UNCSA. Despite telling both school officials and the police about the abuse, nothing really changed.
Our legal team at Lanier Law Group is honored to be on the frontlines, fighting to win justice for these students after all these years.
Read the full article in The New York Times here.
Award-Winning, Compassionate Legal Help
If you were the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at UNCSA, it is not too late to speak up. We understand how hard it can be, which is why we are committed to providing a safe space for you to do so. We offer free, confidential consultations so that you can talk about what happened with a compassionate attorney. There is no obligation to move forward with legal action if you change your mind.
To learn more about our role in the case against UNCSA, please watch our press conference here.
Contact our North Carolina sex abuse law firm online when you are ready to share your story with a trusted attorney.